25. Begin investing today. Waiting to start a retirement account until you feel like you can afford it might mean that you can never retire. Don't put off opening a 401(k) account if your employer offers it, even if you start by contributing just 2 percent of your salary. Soon, you can raise that percentage to 4 percent, and eventually to 10 percent or higher. For extra motivation, plug your numbers into a retirement calculator on Bankrate.com, and see how much you need to fund your golden years—it's probably much more than $1 million.
26. Ignore the market (for the most part). Focusing too much on the ups and downs of the market just causes stress. When the market's plunging, instead focus on your hobbies, family, and getting outside. Avoid cable television news, which often treats every dip in the market like a major crash. If your investments are well-diversified, you've done all you can.
27. Pay off your expensive debt, even student loans. Student loans that carry a 5 or 6 percent interest rate (or higher) are costing you much more than your savings can earn in this current low-interest rate environment. Paying off a chunk of your student loans will immediately start saving you more money than you could if you continue to make those slow-and-steady monthly payments. Of course, not everyone has the cash to pay off a large portion of their loans, and it will probably take five-plus years after graduation to get to the point when you can even consider it. But once you have a healthy bank account, don't wait too long to start paying off big chunks of those more-expensive student loans.
28. Choose the best credit card for you. If you pay your balance off each month, you should have a card that gives you rewards points. If you carry debt, just focus on getting the card with the lowest interest rate. Most people have multiple cards that aren't suited to their needs. Pick the one that fits you best and stop using the other ones. Don't close them, though, because that can hurt your credit score.
29. Improve your credit score. The easiest way to do this is by making steady, on-time payments every month and otherwise keeping your accounts in good standing. Get your free credit report once a year at annualcreditreport.com to check for any mistakes (and fix them).
30. Make a plan for paying off high-interest rate debt. If you carry any credit card debt, auto loans, or high-interest student loans, it's time to come up with a plan for paying them off. With interest rates on savings account so low, it often makes more sense to unload your expensive debt rather than continuing to make interest payments.
31. Run some numbers. Most people fail to calculate exactly how much they're on track to save, or how much they'll need, in retirement. Check out the retirement calculators available through your financial institution (Fidelity, T.D. Ameritrade, Transamerica, and T. Rowe Price have them, among others) or use free calculators from Bankrate.com. Experiment with different rates of returns, inflation rates, tax rates, and lifetime expectancy, since no one can predict those factors with any accuracy.